So many people, especially young people never bother to check their blood pressure because they believe they are too young to be hypertensive. Many years ago this belief could be passed as true but not anymore. Young people are diagnosed with hypertension in recent times.

Hypertension is arterialblood pressure (force exerted on the walls of the artery)that is above 140/90 mmHg. One out of eight young people is hypertensive in the world today and is set to increase due to the lifestyle of most young people in our society. There is a gradual increase in hypertension among young people and there is a need to take action quick as this can later lead to arterial stiffening, kidney disease, brain damage etc.

Hypertension has risk factors that are lifestyle dependent and hence modifiable as well. Some of those risk factors are:

  • Overweight/obesity
  • Alcoholism
  • Diet

However, there are other risk factors that may be unmodifiable and such risk factors are:

  • Gender
  • Disease condition
  • Family history

Diagnosis and treatment of hypertension in young people is minimal because people don’t realise that it can get complicated and develop into cardiovascular diseases sooner in life. It is important to check blood pressure once in a while even as a young person. Hypertension that is not diagnosed and managed early can develop into deadly complications and death.

Treatment of hypertension comprises of different approaches. The most accessible is modification of the risk factors. Regular exercise can be done by young people to improve their heart condition and also shed some weight in case of obesity. A good dietary meal plan with less salt contentshould be incorporated into the individuals lifestyle. It is no secret that young people eat a lot of junk which is not good for their health, so, they should be advised to adopt and maintain a good diet. Habits like alcoholism should be minimised or stopped completely, this age group is usually more into alcohol due to influence and other reasons and this puts them at risk of early hypertension. Modifying this will go a long way to reduce incidence of hypertension in young people.

There are pharmacological treatments as well which includesantihypertensive drugs. These drugs have different mechanisms that lower the blood pressure.

Now that we have established the fact that the incidence of hypertension in young people is increasing and may get worse due to lifestyle, it is important that lifestyle be modified and more awareness be created for diagnosis. The myth that hypertension is old people’s sickness’ should be erased and proper action taken. It is indeed a silent killer among young people because it is not suspected nor diagnosed and it gets worse slowly and silently since it is not managed. It is both the responsibility of every individual and that of healthcare professionals to silence the silent killer.